The real story of “The Last Duel”
The medieval epic of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, The last duel, which hit theaters this week, is the latest adaptation of Eric Jager’s film The last duel: a true story of the trial by combat in medieval France, a true story of combat trials in medieval France.
The fight in question involved Jean de Carrouges (Damon), a French knight, and Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver), who agreed to a “combat trial,” a judicially sanctioned settlement for legal disputes. (The method was used to settle legal charges when a witness was missing and where only the parties involved could testify. Their hands would legally settle the dispute. The power of men. ”) This particular duel is notable for being the final duel—the last duel! – within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Paris.
Resources for the historic European martial arts and sports community notes that the duel was also important for his records. Few combat ordeals have actually been described by contemporary sources. While the legal texts explain how the trial should To play out, the actual details of the weapon clashes are missing from many historical documents.
This is not the case with this duel. There are five sources that describe the fight, including one written by Le Gris’s lawyer. The accounts differ slightly in how the fight went, with some describing the fight opening with a round of jousting on horseback (as in the Ridley Scott film; in most of the accounts the two began to horse), and others saying the two started fighting immediately on foot.
Here’s what probably happened.
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East The last duel based on a true story?
Yes. The duel took place on December 29, 1386 and was chaired by the King of France Charles VI. The accused was Jacques Le Gris, who allegedly raped Jean de Carrouges’ wife, Marguerite. According to Jager’s research, Le Gris assaulted Marguerite as Carrouges was on her way to Paris, telling her after the attack: “Ma’am, if you tell someone what happened here, you will be dishonored. If your husband hears about it, he can kill you. Don’t say anything, and I am silent too.
While French women have spoken out against sexual assault, it was extremely rare that these charges were brought to court. According to a French register, only 12 cases of rape, which took place in several hamlets, were heard in court between 1314 and 1399.
Marguerite risked more than disbelief in charging her. If her claim was found to be false, she would be found guilty of false testimony and burned at the stake. Marguerite, however, said Carrouges, who appealed the case with the king. He then challenged Le Gris to a legal duel to settle the case.
The combat trial had the same consequence as a false accusation. Since the outcome was supposed to be God’s judgment, legal right would be determined by physical force: if Carrouges killed Le Gris, then the rape charge would be considered true; if Carrouges were killed, it would be as if the rape had never taken place, and Marguerite would be killed for false testimony.
These were the stakes of December 29 when the duel began.
Here is the testimony of Michel Pintoin, monk and official historian of King Charles VI. It is possible that Pintoin witnessed the events of the duel, which makes his account perhaps the most accurate of the fight.
“As soon as the marshal gave the signal for mutual attack, the two men abandoned their horses and, threatening swords lowered, advanced with slow steps and engaged bravely and boldly. In this first attack, the other man [Le Gris] pierced Lord John’s thigh with his sword. This blow would have served him well if he had sunk it into the Lord’s wound; but, having pulled it straight away, the blood rose, a spectacle to the crowd. “
“Although Jean was injured, it increased his courage rather than his confusion. At this point, a great horror stifled the audience. With hope favoring neither, voices and spirits were suffocated. “
“So John, gathering his soul in his strength, came over and exclaimed“ Our quarrel is judged today! ”With his left hand, he grabbed the visor of Jacques’s helmet and pulled the man to him. . Pulling back a little, he threw him alone to the ground, prostrate and weighed down by heavy armor. That done, he drew his sword and killed his enemy with great difficulty, because he was locked in armor. “
“Even though the vanquished did not give up his claim when the victor overthrew him and repeatedly ordered him to admit the truth, it was held that he [Le Gris] to be dragged to the gallows, as was customary for duels. “
Finally, Carrouges killed Le Gris.
What happened to Carrouges and Marguerite?
Both gained wealth and prestige after the event. Carrouges died ten years later in combat with the Ottoman Turks. Marguerite’s last years are not known to historians, although some suggest that she entered a convent, having been guilty of false accusations all the time. For those who have seen The last duel, you’ll know the text at the end of the movie suggests otherwise: that she never remarried and lived in peace with her child for decades longer.
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